What Gun Control Could Look Like : NPR
In a pair of recent decisions, the Supreme Court has made it clear that Americans have a constitutional right to own handguns for self-defense. But the court will nonetheless allow “reasonable regulations” on firearms.
The country appears set, following the mass shootings at a school in Newtown, Conn., to have a debate about what restrictions should be put in place.
Members of Congress have already signaled their intent to introduce gun-control legislation next year, which President Obama has indicated in recent days will be a priority.
“If there’s anything that’s going to move the legislative agenda, this has to be it,” says Harry L. Wilson, director of the Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College. “If Newtown does not produce meaningful legislation, what will?”
Still, Wilson cautions that many of the gun restrictions likely to be debated could have limited efficacy in preventing mass shootings. In terms of the political debate, he notes, supporters of gun owners’ rights have won nearly every legislative battle in recent years.
But it’s possible that Newtown will be a turning point. If that’s the case, the argument over gun control is likely to tackle three major questions, according to Jon Lowy, director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Center.
“The basic breakdown for most of it is, who should be allowed to buy guns, how should they be allowed to buy them and what should they be allowed to buy?”
Also included in the article is a chart of Estimated Brady Background Check Denials of Concealed Weapon Permit. Denials for Mental Illness are among the lowest percentages. Highest being Felony Conviction and Domestic Violence.
This is a big concern:
There are already plenty of weapons out there — and likely to be more in the coming days and weeks, as gun owners rush to stock up either for personal protection or to invest in weapons that would become more valuable following a ban.
“The assault-weapon ban will be reintroduced, but I’m not sure it can pass the Senate,” Wilson says. “It certainly won’t pass the House.”
This is something of which I was unaware:
The only real legislation that came out of Virginia Tech was a mandate for mental health records for the national criminal background mental health checks,” he says. “Many states have done almost nothing.”
Last year, the House passed a bill that would block the Department of Veterans Affairs from determining that a veteran is mentally incompetent for purposes of gun control, unless that person was found to be a danger to himself or others by a judge.
oh and this is the *facepalm* of all *facepalms*:
Under the terms of a 1986 law, even licensed firearms dealers can sell guns without background checks away from their principal place of business, according to the Congressional Research Service.
“Forty percent of sales are done without background checks,” says Lowy, of the Brady Center. “This is the top of the list of policies that should be considered.”